Manship among Phils' arms to keep eye on

Manship among Phils' arms to keep eye on

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies sent a split squad to Lakeland, Fla., Thursday afternoon to play the Tigers, but the game was canceled because of rain.

David Buchanan and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez had been scheduled to pitch. They are competing to be the team's fifth starter while the rotation is shorthanded with Cole Hamels battling shoulder problems. Buchanan has been impressive early in camp, while Gonzalez looks like he needs more time to develop after not pitching competitively the past two years.

Jeff Manship and Sean O'Sullivan also are in contention for a job, with Jonathan Pettibone behind schedule because of right shoulder inflammation, and Ethan Martin not throwing because of a strained right shoulder capsule and triceps. B.J. Rosenberg has started in the past, but the Phillies prefer him in the bullpen.

Manship is worth watching. He has impressed Phillies personnel, but he also carries a 6.42 ERA in 52 career big league appearances.

"From what our scouts have seen of him, he's always had a good arm," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It's been a matter of being able to command the zone better. That's true of all pitchers. Sometimes guys get it late. Sometimes guys get it early. Perhaps what [pitching coach] Bob [McClure] is preaching to the group -- keeping the ball down and keeping it simple -- maybe that is clicking. Who knows? Sometimes it clicks for guys and sometimes it doesn't. It's early, but he has impressed so far."

Amaro said Pettibone is "progressing good. We're hoping at some point he will be throwing to hitters. That's what we're pushing toward now. He feels good. He's been throwing without pain."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.